WILLITS, 12/31/19 — The 2010s are ending tonight, and the 2020s begin, will they be “roaring ‘20s” or will they be “boring ‘20s?” Well, that’s up to all of you, but here at The Mendocino Voice we have a lot planned for the first year of this new decade,* and we’re excited to get to it — and we couldn’t make it happen without the support of all of you. Tonight, we thought we should take a look back at what we’ve done over the last 12 months, and share it with you.
But first, our biggest plans this year are to expand by hiring more staff to give you better more comprehensive coverage, and to become a co-op in which you the readers will have an ownership stake in your newspaper. The best way you can support us in that is to become a member. So head over, become a member, and contribute to rebuilding local news in your community — the cost is less than a traditional newspaper subscription, and we promise we’ll never sell out to a large corporation or hedge-fund, because we’ll be owned by you.
Now for a little retrospective and our top stories of 2019:
This last year saw 391,000 people visit our news service, over 1,075,000 page views, and we celebrated our third year in operation. We more than doubled the number of people supporting us as members, and helped many local businesses reach a bigger audience by advertising with us. Early in the year we released our Mendocino Maps website and podcast with Solutions Journalism Network Grant. Later on we were selected for Startup Mendocino business competition from West Business Development Center; received a significant grant from the Lenfest Institute to begin our co-op conversation; and we were selected to host a young reporter by the national non-profit Report for America newsroom — they’ll be joining us in the spring to cover the environmental and natural resources beat (apply now!).
We’ve also worked hard to learn and become better reporters: We were selected to attend Google Local News Initiative conference in Chicago, met with similar publications who are tackling the difficulties of rural news at the LION Publishers conference, attended legal training seminars in San Francisco, and got extensive business coaching from West Business Development Center.
In our top ten most read stories, there is a noticeable theme: wildfires, floods, planned power shut-offs, and traffic fatalities — breaking news events and disasters that have had huge impacts on our county since we started in 2016. We want to continue to be there for you during emergencies, breaking news, but we also want to expand and help our communities prepare for disaster, and do more of the essential government and watchdog coverage that health communities need. And again you can help us in that by becoming a member HERE.
Thanks to everyone who supported us, in every way. We’re working hard every day to bring you more useful news, with plans to build a more sustainable and reliable community service in 2020. Thanks to everyone who has gotten in touch or sent us support with kind words, money, or offers to help. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, (707) 506-NEWS, PO Box 37, Ukiah, CA 95482, or on social media.
Top 10 most read stories of 2019:
- Northern Santa Rosa now under evacuation warning — evacuations orders remain effect from Healdsburg to the coast (updated 11:10pm) https://mendovoice.com/2019/10/officials-order-the-complete-evacuation-of-healdsburg-and-windsor-in-advance-of-critical-fire-weather-kincade-fire-reaches-25455-acres-10-containment/
- Tourist with measles visits Fort Bragg, potentially exposing people to the disease https://mendovoice.com/2019/06/tourist-with-measles-visits-fort-bragg-potentially-exposing-people-to-the-disease/
- Outages hit Potter Valley –PG&E says 6476 customers in Mendocino Co. will lose power — and we have a list of which schools will close — red flag warning declared across NorCal (updated 8:47 p.m.) https://mendovoice.com/2019/10/as-vast-power-outages-loom-tonight-uncertainty-remains/
- Burris Fire evacuation orders all reduced to warnings — 350 acres, 20% containment — Hwy. 20 now open (updated 7:35 p.m.) https://mendovoice.com/2019/10/fire-in-potter-valley-flares-up-now-20-to-30-acres-dangerous-rate-of-spread-structures-threaten/
- Fundraiser started to help family of tow truck driver killed on 101 (updated 11/19) https://mendovoice.com/2019/11/tow-truck-driver-killed-on-101/
- “Moose Fire” stands at 85 acres, 25% contained — evacuations of immediate area ordered (updated 10:15 p.m.) https://mendovoice.com/2019/08/moose-fire-burning-between-hopland-and-ukiah-50-to-75-acres-evacuations-beginning/
- Fundraiser started to help family of Cheyenne Hoaglen, Covelo woman killed in 101 crash https://mendovoice.com/2019/11/two-killed-in-single-car-accident-in-redwood-valley-small-child-survives/
- PG&E confirms likely power shut-off to hit Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Hopland, & Potter Valley early Wed. — plus maps https://mendovoice.com/2019/10/pge-confirms-like-power-shut-off-to-hit-ukiah-redwood-valley-hopland-potter-valley-early-wed-and-maps/
- Nearly all of Mendocino County will lose power Saturday, 39,000 customers to be shut off — “historic” wind event forecasted for this weekend with extreme fire risk https://mendovoice.com/2019/10/historic-wind-event-forecasted-for-this-weekend-pge-plans-to-shut-off-power-to-850000-customers-in-36-counties-red-flag-warning-issued/
- Storm impacts roads across Mendo, Hwys. 175, 128, 20 in Lake Co. and 1 closed in portions (updated 8:30 a.m. 2/27) https://mendovoice.com/2019/02/evacuation-warning-ordered-for-russian-river-area-of-ukiah-and-hopland-also-along-the-navarro-in-elk/
*Yes we know that technically, because there was no year 0, some sticklers say that the decade begins in 2021, but come one, we can all agree it begins tonight. But just for you sticklers, and to prove I’m a good editor, I included this little note down here.